Child training for physical aggression?
Young children in foster homes are at high risk for externalizing disorders. We evaluated the effectiveness of a child-focused adaptation of the Incredible Years Child Training program to reduce physical aggression. N=94 children (ages 5–8years) with substantiated child neglect were recruited from six sites. Within site, children were randomly assigned to a Child Training (n=49) or Usual Care (n=45) group. Ratings of good self-control, poor self-control, and physical aggression by foster parents and teachers were gathered at baseline, post intervention, and 3-month follow up. Physical aggression decreased over time for both groups. Contrary to our hypotheses, children in Child Training group did not experience better outcomes than those in the Usual Care group. After adjusting for gender, ethnicity, initial diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and study site, as compared with the Child Training group, children in the Usual Care showed more improvement the over time in good self control and physical aggression. Teacher ratings remained unchanged for both groups. Intervention gains in good self control were found for boys vs girls. Attending to gender, expanding child training programs, and studying site characteristics are a few important lessons for this trial.
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